From its starts in the Bronx block parties organized by DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and also Grandmaster Flash, hip-hop has actually been a ground-level arts – people’s music, well-known music, even folk music. For generations now, rappers have actually aimed because that authenticity, and often the authenticity method narratives the dropping out of school, life a life that crime, and a sudden climb from poverty to wealth. Even rappers who saw college will often play down their education as no being actual enough. Meanwhile, hip-hop has become a serious field of academic study – take into consideration producer 9th Wonder’s residency atNorth Carolina main University, or theHarvard Universityfellowship for hip-hop scholarship created by Nas. Majoring in hip-hop isn’t also one of the many unusual college levels anymore. However, rappers us don’t normally take greater education serious – it’s simply not on-brand because that most.

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Rappers Who checked out College: As genuine as that Gets

That’s not to say the rappers do not possess extraordinary gifts: Flava Flav, before he to be a reality-show embarrassment, was a musical prodigy, qualified of playing much more than a dozen tools by ear, without any type of formal musical training, by his teenage years. Eminem raps through a vocabulary rivalling Shakespeare’s, when Wu-Tang members GZA and Ghostface Killah have vocabularies also larger. Hip-hop producers have actually been responsible for an ext technical technologies in recording 보다 they will certainly likely ever be fully credited for. Because that the many part, though, those an abilities are self-taught, no from formal education. What about the rappers v college degrees?

Rappers who saw college space as distinctive as have the right to be – aboriginal Tongues and backpacker MCs, hard-core gangsta and also Dirty south rappers, popular music stars and also underground. Their degrees are from significant research universities and liberal art colleges and also HBCUs. The College agreement ranking the the height 10 Rappers with College degrees is focused on the hip-hop legends and stars who have actually done their time in higher education and also earned levels – even if they nothing boast around their BAs together with their yellow chains and Lambos (although laboratory stardom could be a an excellent way to salary off college student loans).

Artists are ranked no according to your skills, but according to the consensus score of your alma mater.

1. Young MC, college of southern California


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The British-born rapper and also producer well-known as Young MC is forever defined by his best hit, “Bust a Move,” however don’t minimize Marvin Young come a one-hit wonder. Farming up in Hollis, queens (also the home of Run-DMC), Young MC started rapping at 10 year old, because that to be the culture in the air. But he was also the child of hard-working, striving Jamaican immigrants, and also slacking off, to run the streets, and also getting in problem was not an option. Instead, the bright, specialized student excelled in ~ Hunter college High school (a secondary school activate by Hunter College) and was welcomed into Hunter. Young MC’s ambitions take it him come the various other side that the country, however: come the college of southerly California.

At USC – among the most prestigious exclusive research universities in the West – Young specialty in business economics while honing his rap skills, recording the ear of 2 classmates who had actually started very delicious Vinyl Records. Lock signed Young as their very first artist, yet their first major success came with Tone Loc, spitting rhymes created by Young MC. Then, that course, “Bust a Move” brushed up the world, a Grammy-winning, top-10 hit that became an albatross. Unfortunately, Young MC was a victim of timing; he became a sensation precisely at the very same time that his witty, clever, and harmlessly optimistic style came to be passe. No that Young MC is bitter; in the years due to the fact that hip-hop left the behind, Young has continued to write, make records, and tour as a proud heritage artist. No a poor career because that a son from Queens.

Degree: Economics, college of southerly CaliforniaImage Source: text Wiki

2. Childish Gambino, new York University


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Among rappers who visited college, Donald Glover is one of the many extraordinary multi-talented artists to come follow me in a generation. From a network television writing task straight the end of college, to certification in Community, come stand-up comedy, to writing, directing, and starring in Atlanta, Glover needs to be among the busiest men in entertainment. Oh, and don’t forget Childish Gambino, his hip-hop alter-ego. As Childish (from an virtual Wu-Tang name generator), Glover has been just one of the many prolific hip-hop artists in the business, and also that’s ~ above something the is essentially a next project. 5 mixtapes, an EP, and three albums (Camp, Because the Internet, and “Awaken, my Love!”), all in less than a decade, have actually earned Glover a reputation for constantly having his finger on the pulse of the culture. In 2018, v the relax of his extraordinary video clip for the single “This is America,” Glover went also farther, injecting the Childish Gambino spirit into American consciousness the method that only a superstar can.

And the all started at NYU’s Tisch institution of the Arts, whereby Glover studied Dramatic Writing, graduating in 2006. That was Year Zero for Glover’s career, when a spec manuscript for The Simpsons acquired him a job in the writer’s room of 30 Rock. If Glover had DJ’d and made a mixtape in college, it was writing (and, later, do cameos) top top 30 absent that lugged Glover into the windy eye. When Glover went back to music in 2008, with his very first mixtape, the Dirty South-influenced Gambino task was claimed to be a much more personal, non-commercial way to express himself throughout professional disappointed (he would certainly leave Community shortly after). However, against all odds (when Glover first announced his new persona, numerous wondered if it was a joke), Childish Gambino has proven to it is in an ideal an innovative outlet because that a young genius through apparently unlimited potential and energy. He is a perfect example of what rappers with college levels can do.

Degree:Dramatic Writing,New York UniversityImage Source: i know good Hop Wiki

3. Talib Kweli, brand-new York University


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Any ranking the the biggest hip-hop lyricists the doesn’t incorporate Talib Kweli close to the peak is instantly wrong. Among the best rappers through college degrees, Kweli come by his linguistic dexterity honestly, growing up in a highly literate household that contains an English professor (his mother), a university administrator and sociologist (his father), and also a regulation professor (his brother). As a kid, Kweli wrote poetry and also stories, getting into rapping only due to the fact that it was a way for him to be renowned in school, but, similar to Mos Def, music was greatly an afterthought. In ~ NYU, Kweli learned theater prefer Mos, a childhood friend, and began collaborating with producer DJ Hi-Tek ~ above a project called Reflection Eternal in 1997. Of course, it to be getting earlier together with Mos Def that made 1998’s classic Black Star possible.

As one MC, Kweli is recognized for his dense, intricate rhymes, including facility polysyllabic rhymes and internal rhymes, and his wordplay. No surprisingly, Kweli also scores as one of the rappers with the highest vocabulary, a product, most likely, of his deep reading in biographies, history, politics, and philosophy, every one of which show up prominently in his socially aware lyrics. While Kweli may not speak a lot about his theatre degree, his career as an activist has actually been committed to literacy and social justice. Kweli and also Mos Def space the owner of a cultural awareness center, the Nkiru center for Education and Culture, which they developed from one Afrocentric bookstore that was in danger of closing; Kweli’s mother, Dr. Brenda Greene, chairs the board.

Degree:Theater,New York UniversityImage Source: Monstercat Wiki

4. Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def, brand-new York University


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One the the many admired MCs the his generation, Dante smith aka Mos Def aka Yasiin Bey is well-known for his socially-conscious lyrics, his restless reinvention, and also his distinctive drawl. While Mos burst into hip-hop as a guest on documents by native Tongues groups Da shrub Babees and also De La Soul, Dante smith had already had a effective career in entertainment together a child actor. Through steady work in TV movies, theater, and also sitcoms, the boy who would certainly be Mos Def dropped out of high school to go after his acting career, and credited his passion for acting as the force that defended him native the violence and also crime the the Brooklyn projects.

It was while examining theater at NYU that Mos Def stepped, practically accidentally, into hip-hop. Throughout the beforehand 90s, Mos had obtained some attention analysis his poetry in venues prefer the fabled Nuyorican Cafe, and also formed a hip-hop group with his brother and also sister in 1993. The earned him the fist of the native Tongues collective, the hyper-lyrical, Afrocentric step that consisted of the jungle Brother, A Tribe dubbed Quest, De La Soul, and Queen Latifah. Creating a duo with fellow theater student Talib Kweli, Mos Def released one game-changing record as black Star before starting a solo career identified by lyrical excellence, political activism, and also a do not be afraid commitment to his arts – even if it is it’s rap, acting, or whatever Yasiin Bey decides to execute next.

Degree: Theater,New York UniversityImage Source: Dexter Wiki

5. Guru (Gang Starr), Morehouse College


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Half of the iconic corridor Starr – the East coast duo recognized for pioneering the brand-new York hardcore layout (along with groups like public Enemy and Boogie down Productions) – the late Keith Elam was the man known as Guru. Elam liked to blow his pseudonym the end to Gifted countless Rhymes universal (as on the tune “Form of Intellect”), and it no an exaggeration; Guru was, fairly simply, among the many intelligent and also wise MCs top top the scene, recognized for crystal-clear monitorings on politics, philosophy, human being nature, and also art. He could battle with the finest of them, too, and also boasted about his brilliance with confidence. Born in Boston, Guru’s father was a judge and his mom the director of libraries for the public school system – a perfect instance of upper-middle course black excellence.

It’s no surprise that Guru can hold his very own at the most competitive and also elite historically black color college in the nation: Morehouse College. And what to be Guru’s major? Of course the male who created Hard come Earn specialty in business, and also at Morehouse – ranked one of the most entrepreneurial colleges in the nation – organization is no joke. If that foundation may have provided Guru the company sense to save Gang Starr in the black, it was his rhymes, merged with the significant beats the DJ Premier (who attend Prairie view A&M University), that made the duo legends in the underground. Guru’s work-related is steeped in the background and pre-history of hip-hop, as his Jazzmatazz albums demonstrate; experimental collisions of jazz artists, hip-hop beats, and also rapping, the 4 Jazzmatazz documents are favor an alternating universe hip-hop. Sadly, Guru passed native myeloma in 2010, at just 43 years old, leaving a heritage that still looms end hip-hop.

Degree:Business,Morehouse CollegeImage Source: rap Genius

6. J. Cole, St. John’s University


Jay Z’s first protege in ~ his Roc nation record label, J. Cole is a Renaissance guy of the hip-hop craft, a college student of the genre and also a creator together adept behind the boards as he is behind the mic. Born in 1985, Cole began rapping in ~ 12 and also making his very own beats at 15, v a sampler provided to him by his mother. Cole to be the sort of boy who seemed to excel at whatever he did – one honors student, very first chair violin in his high school orchestra – and if he wasn’t immediately an excellent at something, he functioned at it; after being reduced from the high school basketball team in his freshman and sophomore years, Cole exercised until he to be a starter in his senior year. That kind of dedication mirrors in every element of an impressive, and also still developing, career the is already going ~ above a decade.

Cole’s work-related ethic and also intellect payment off with a scholarship to St. John’s college in new York City; the honors high college graduate (with a 4.2 GPA) chose new York through a rap job in mind, however still i graduated with highest honors in communications and also business. The exact same year he graduated from college (2007), Cole exit his very first mixtape, earning underground buzz that caught Hov’s attention. With a circulation that meshes Jay with his new York rival Nas, Cole’s earnest however unsentimental reflect on life, politics, and life have obtained him a massive following, while various other artists look for him out for guest verses and also beats – even civilization who were once his idols, favor Kanye West and also Talib Kweli.

Degree:Communications and Business,St. John’s UniversityImage Source: Survivor Org Wiki

7. Lining D, Adelphi University


One that the most politically outspoken hip-hop MCs of every time, chuck D has spent much more than three decades courting controversy and demanding justice together the leader of public Enemy. Born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, lining D’s rap career started right together the large Bang of hip-hop – the legend 1977 new York City blackout, as soon as the 17 year old was influenced to create rhymes by the post-blackout to explode of creative thinking in the city. Stardom take it a while, though, and also while he was perfecting his craft, lining earned a BFA in Graphic architecture from Adelphi University, wherein he met fellow student william Drayton. V Drayton – who called himself Flava Flav, and worked moving furniture for Chuck’s father’s service – Chuck recorded a single called “Public adversary Number One.” The remainder is history.

Chuck D may have majored in graphic design, yet he’s not well-known for his visual style – he’s recognized for among the many recognizable voices in hip-hop. Modeled on the sporting activities announcers that admired together a boy, Chuck’s text blast the end over the to win in a booming baritone, enunciating every word as plainly as a newscaster no issue how quick the flow. The was not by chance: lining famously referred to as hip-hop “CNN for black color people,” and nothing was more important than the message. Together fellow new York duo Boogie under Productions, Public opponent pioneered a provocative, unabashedly political hip-hop that assumed that listeners were smart, conscious, and ready for an education. Chuck has actually made education and also activism the center of his career, from speaking to university students to creating documentaries around hip-hop and political issues.

Degree:Graphic Design,Adelphi UniversityImage Source: Wikipedia

8. Sage Francis, college of Rhode Island


Providence, RI’s favourite son, Sage Francis (born Paul wilhelm Francis in 1976) is an secret hip-hop legend and an inspiration to DIY hip-hop artists everywhere. A working-class son whose mommy tended bar, and also whose stepfather worked as a locksmith, Francis to be rapping from the age of 8, influenced by Run-DMC. Gift a striver was constructed into his DNA; by 12 years old the was already a battle rapper, sneaking the end of his house to compete against other MCs around town. It was in the cypher that Sage Francis make his name, taking on and also beating every comers, including battle masters choose Esoteric and also Blueprint.

Sage Francis is also one smart guy. After going come Dean university to play football, Francis threw himself right into his classes after ~ being reduced from the team, earning a degree in communications; he then earned one more degree, this time in journalism, at the university of Rhode Island. But telling various other people’s story wasn’t Francis’ passion, and instead the going right into a journalism career, Francis went all in top top hip-hop. Communications and also journalism room still what Francis does, though; when his battling gave him underground cred, it was his politically-charged raps around the battle on Terror that broke Sage Francis, years into his career. A consummate lyricist and also a generosity collaborator, Sage Francis gets his story throughout as among the height rappers with college degrees.

Degree:Journalism,University that Rhode Island; Communications,Dean CollegeImage Source: YouTube

9. Ludacris, Georgia State University


Okay, so academics isn’t the first thing you think of as soon as you think of the artist behind Chicken-n-Beer and also “Act a Fool,” but Ludacris is a man of numerous surprises. A display screen Actors Guild and Grammy Award-winning artist, kris Bridges may have actually gotten famous on some less-than-intellectual party jams, however the guy himself is a mogul and also a business mastermind. Growing up in Chicago, Luda come of age in Atlanta, where he would help pioneer the Dirty south sound. Prior to that, though, Ludacris was examining music management at Atlanta’s Georgia State University, gaining his foot in the door as an intern at hot 97.5, and also even DJing at Freaknik.

So yes, Ludacris wrote “Move B—-” and “Freaky Thangs,” but he likewise graduated through honors indigenous Georgia State and also built a service empire estimated at $25 million. One of the most significant Southern rappers of all time, Ludacris do his job on a mix of earworm hooks, inventive videos, and picture that was difficult enough to maintain street cred, but comical enough to be relatable to a wide variety of fans. Through smart business sense, Luda also broke numerous younger southern rappers, such together 2 Chainz, utilizing his mental tha peace record brand as a major front because that the genre. The course, to many younger people, Luda will constantly be far better known because that The Fast and the Furious 보다 for his rapping, however that’s okay – the business significant always gets paid.

Degree:Music Management,Georgia State UniversityImage Source: i know good Hop Wiki

10. David Banner, southerly University and A&M College


Naming himself for the tremendous Hulk’s TV alter-ego to be a punch of genius for Jackson, MS native Lavell Crump – that told listeners specifically what to intend from the rapper recognized as David Banner. Everything around Banner is gargantuan – the hooks, the beats, the image, and also especially the voice. Nothing forget the brains: as soon as he i graduated from college, Banner adhered to in his mother’s footsteps at southern University and A&M College, one HBCU in Baton Rouge, LA. He didn’t sit in the back of the classroom doodling, either; he to be president the the SGA, graduated with honors with a service degree, and went come the college of Maryland east Shore for his master’s in education.

His rap job derailed the education and learning master’s, but David Banner is tho an educator. Through a ferocious bark that recalls a southerly Busta Rhymes, David Banner has actually made his career on bridging the gap in between the party-rocking crunk layout of the Dirty South, and the socially-conscious activist subject issue of the brand-new York hardcore classics. Not numerous hip-hop artists might attract guests as diverse as Bun B and the 3 6 Mafia ~ above one hand, and also Dead Prez and also Talib Kweli top top the other, yet David Banner walk it. Through an intellect as fierce as his voice, Banner tackles social ills in the Deep south with complexity and also soul (and Caddies, the course). If young Mr. Crump to be hell-bent ~ above a comic book pseudonym, he can just too gone v Hank McCoy, due to the fact that on every track, he’s a Beast – a brilliant one.

Degree:Business,Southern University and also A&M CollegeImage Source: hip Hop Wiki

Honorable Mention: ice Cube, Phoenix academy of Technology


As a member the N.W.A. And also as a solo artist, ice cream Cube was at the facility of the West shore gangsta lab phenomenon, putting himself in the crosshairs the the culture wars v songs like “F— the Police” and “Amerikkka’s most Wanted.” before he was a figure the media loved to hate (and way, way before he was the lovably gruff challenge of household comedies), O’Shea Jackson was the younger child of a middle-class family in Baldwin Hills, the nicer side of South main Los Angeles – a background that gangsta rapper ice cream Cube desired to keep quiet. After high school, as soon as a laboratory career appeared unlikely, Cube went out to Phoenix to examine architectural drafting, hope his love the architecture and design would certainly serve as a fallback if hip-hop didn’t job-related out.

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Obviously, hip-hop settled for ice cream Cube. Hired by Dr. Dre to compose rhymes because that his group, the human being Class Wreckin’ Cru, Cube go on to companion with Dre, Eazy-E, and MC Ren together N.W.A., trading in glitzy party records for a hard-hitting, street-reportage style. As well as his very own verses, Cube created for Eazy and also Dre, do lyrics the fit your voices and also personas. In interviews, ice Cube has attributed his organized planning come his architectural training, and it has served the well as he has developed a three-decade career that has actually spanned from rap to acting to movie producing. And also Cube has actually never forget his love that design, either, also serving together the Getty Museum’s representative because that a Charles and also Ray Eames exhibit; Cube compared their mid-century format to sampling and mash-ups, constantly keeping it real in the rap game.

NOTE: ice Cube gets Honorable cite only since the technical school he to visit no longer exists. Us love you, Cube!

Degree:Architectural Drafting, Phoenix institute of TechnologyImage Source: rap Wiki